Texas is a pioneer in state public charter school authorization, with a program spanning over 20 years, since 1996. Its emphasis on state-driven school creation is unusual in a national landscape dominated by local and regional authorizing. One feature of the state authorizing practice is aggressive statewide expansion of high-performing public charter school networks, a reflection of the state leader- ship’s commitment to maximizing the number of students enrolled in highly effective schools. Several nationally recognized charter management organizations, including KIPP, IDEA, Harmony, and Uplift, have emerged from this approach.

Key Points:

  • Texas is the birthplace of some of the nation’s most effective and sought-after public charter schools. However, it has never been more difficult to be granted a public charter in Texas than it is today.

  • The Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) charter school application has become expensive, bureaucratic, unpredictable, and time-consuming, hinder- ing new charter schools from successfully applying with TEA to start serving Texas students.

  • Our organizations recommend a renewed intentionality when it comes to charter school authorizing. The TEA should remove barriers in the application process and adopt policies that will encourage the creation of new and excellent public charter schools.